An off-duty special agent with the F.B.I. fatally shot a person Wednesday evening after the two got into an altercation and fell about eight feet off a subway platform in downtown Washington, the authorities said.
Ashan M. Benedict, the executive assistant chief of police at the Metropolitan Police Department, said at a news conference that the shooting happened just before 6:30 p.m. at the busy Metro Center station, which is just blocks from the White House and serves as a central hub and major transfer point in the city’s transit system.
The authorities said that two people were standing on the platform when “one of the individuals grabs the other and then they both go over a side wall.” The fighting continued, and the agent fired his gun, killing the other person.
The F.B.I. agent was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the police said.
Chief Benedict said that several shots were fired, though it was unclear specifically how many. He declined to name the agent, saying only that the agent is a “veteran” and assigned to F.B.I. headquarters. The authorities also did not identify the person who was killed.
The authorities said they had not found another gun at the scene. When asked if the person who was killed had been armed, Chief Benedict said, “We’re still processing the scene.”
Some video evidence is already under review, and that the agent “appears to be the victim,” Chief Benedict said.
Megan Gamble, 39, said she was riding the Red Line to go to a fund-raiser for the D.C. Abortion Fund when the train passed through the Metro Center station. “I could very clearly hear gunshots,’’ she said in an interview.
Without thinking, she and the dozens of other riders on the train dropped to the ground as it sped through the station without stopping, she said. “It happened so fast,’’ she added, “but also the two seconds it took me to react and drop to the ground felt like time had stopped.”
“As we realized we were out of immediate danger, people on the train started to check in with each other, asking if everyone was OK,” Ms. Gamble said. “I was so grateful for the train operator, who acted quickly to keep the train moving and get us out of danger.”
The F.B.I. Washington field office said in a statement posted on Twitter that it was cooperating with the authorities.
“The F.B.I. takes any shooting incident involving our agents or task force members seriously,” the agency said. “In accordance with F.B.I. policy, the shooting incident is under review by the F.B.I.’s Inspection Division.”
Trains were bypassing the Metro Center station as the authorities investigated, and Red Line trains were running on a single track.
The shooting came five days after an F.B.I. special agent was found not guilty of attempted murder after shooting a passenger while riding on a Red Line train in 2020, according to CNN.
In April, the Metro Transit Police said it would increase police presence on trains and buses to make public transportation safer, according to the agency.